Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Different Way of Measuring

Yesterday I ‘Shadowed’ a retreat for high level executives. I’ve Shadow Coached™ many of the key players individually and my focus, my mandate for the day, was to see what action plan they would come up with and how they would integrate what they discussed into their every day lives. The reason why I created the Shadow Coaching™ model in the first place was to work within the fast paced lives of my clients, to help them achieve the results and ways of being they want without having to take them out of the workplace to do it. Let’s face it. Busy executives no longer have time to book off for training, never mind the time and focus to apply what they learned off site to their every day lives.

One of the Human Resource specialists wanted to know what it was I did with these individuals. Was there a possible canned answer that applied to them all? No. However many HR specialists think in terms of canned programs and courses, not in terms of the intangibles, the subtleties and the context of how the training or coaching is implemented as to create achievable results. The work I do is specific to the individual. What works for one is not even applicable to many of the others. The term leadership in the generic sense applies to all, however how it’s measured, how it’s lived is unique to the individual.

So rather than delve into intangibles, the only information shared at the retreat was what worked 15 years go. Going off somewhere to take a course where participants learn a great deal of useful information worked way back when, however what they integrate into their lives when they get back is minimal and if they do incorporate some of it, retention is very low.

What struck me however as one by one, the individuals working at this retreat walked over to discuss things with me through the day, was how sometimes the most dramatic thing I could do for them as a Shadow Coach™ was just that….to be there. By virtue of the fact they know they have a non-judgmental, unbiased observer and supporter makes all the difference in the world if for no other reason than to hone their awareness level. Knowing I’m aware makes them more aware and eager to share information back to me as the day unfolds.

There are ways to measure results that are black and white and documentable. However there are ways of measuring results that can’t be recorded on charts, in surveys or questionnaires. These results are not to be discounted and won’t make it into most research papers. Rather they will reflect in the energy level of the individual, the enhanced leadership and enthused response of their staff. There will be a marked increase in happiness and contentment with their lot in life.

All this to say it’s not something that’s usually found in HR 101, it’s something that is found in the ways of great leaders; those intangible immeasurable “I’m not sure what it is” factors that help them fly.

Don’t always try to measure, categorize or predetermine outcomes. Sometimes just ‘being’, being there and being aware is all it takes.

Donna Karlin

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